Browns tackle Joe Thomas is still undecided about whether he wants to play in 2018. However, he plans on letting the team know his plans sooner rather than later.
“I don’t think there’s any real rush at this point,” he told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “Obviously, they want to know before the draft and free agency, so that if they have make different plans if I’m not going to be there, they want to know about it. I told them I’ll make a decision when I’m ready and let them know and give them as much time as I possibly can.”
The Browns gave Thomas a $3MM raise in November which would make him the league’s highest paid offensive lineman in 2018 at a $13.5MM salary. Thomas is due to collect on a $3MM bonus on March 18, but Thomas seems to be indicating that he’ll notify the team in advance of the legal tampering period on March 12.
In 2017, a torn triceps tendon ended Thomas’ NFL-record streak of 10,363 snaps, but that’s not the injury that has him on the fence about playing. Instead, Thomas says its his lingering knee and back issues that have him thinking about walking away.
If Thomas does take the field in 2018, he won’t rule out the possibility of continuing his career into 2019.
“I’m not ready to say anything definitively because I’d hate to be wrong,” he said. “Because I’ve seen how a lot of other guys’ careers has ended. I grew up in Wisconsin a Brett Favre fan and I’ve seen how many times he was definitely not going to come play and then he played for the Jets and the Vikings. So I don’t want to say anything definitively. I don’t know. It’s hard to say. But what I can say is this is my last year on my contract in Cleveland. I don’t want to play anywhere else. I guess I haven’t thought that far yet.”
In previous interviews, Thomas indicated that he would be more inclined to play next year if the Browns were positioned to win. The veteran is of the belief that the Browns at least have a chance at a turnaround season.
“Honestly, the way I look at 2018 for the Browns is $100MM in cap space, the first and the fourth pick,” he said. “If you look back historically, if you added two guys in free agency that were both $25MM a year, you could assume that they’re probably Hall of Fame-caliber. Then you add a first pick and a fourth pick who presumably could be Hall of Fame guys, or more likely probably Pro Bowl guys, you’ve now added four blue chip players to your roster. Now you’re totally transformed your team.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.